Boris Alexeyevich Smyslovsky (also Smyslovsky-Holmston and Holmston-Smyslovsky) (3 December 1897 – 5 September 1988) was a Russian general, émigré, and anti-communist. His pseudonyms were Artur Holmston and von Regenau. He commanded the pro-Axis collaborationist First Russian National Army during World War II.
Smyslovsky was born in Terijoki, Grand Duchy of Finland (today Zelenogorsk, Saint Petersburg, Russia), and later joined the Russian Imperial Army where he advanced to the rank of captain in the Imperial Guards. During the Russian Civil War he fought against the Bolsheviks, and then moved to Poland, later to Germany. There he attended the Kriegsakademie. His view was that foreign intervention and help was needed to free Russia from Bolshevism. When Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, he served on the Eastern Front and established training battalions that were used to fight partisans. Boris Smyslovsky was given the command of Sonderdivision R (“special division Russia”) and became the first Russian in German services to command an anti-Bolshevik unit in World War II. He soon realized that Nazi ideology was at collision with his views of intelligent use of Russian anti-Bolshevik forces and established feelers to Switzerland in case he would need asylum at the war’s end.
⇒1st Russian National Army:
Towards the end of the war Germany upgraded its Russian volunteers in the war effort, and Boris Smyslovsky’s forces were elevated to the 1st Russian National Army on 10 March 1945. By April 1945, Smyslovsky had moved his fighters to Feldkirch where he met Grand Duke Vladimir Cyrillovich, the Romanov claimant to the Russian Imperial Crown. The whittled-down army of 462 men, 30 women, and 2 children then moved into neutral Liechtenstein on 2 May 1945, the Grand Duke, however, decided to stay in the US occupied zone in Austria because neither Liechtenstein nor Switzerland would issue him an visa. The Russians were cared for by the Liechtenstein Red Cross. On 16 August 1945, a Soviet delegation came to Liechtenstein in an attempt to repatriate the Russians. Homesick and subject to cajoling and menacing, about 200 of the group agreed to return. They departed in a train to Vienna and nothing was ever heard of them again. The remainder stayed in Liechtenstein for another year, resisting with support of Liechtenstein further pressure by the Soviet government to participate in the repatriation program. Eventually the government of Argentina offered asylum, and about a hundred people left. Smyslovsky was visited by Allen Dulles and other Western military experts to learn more about his expertise regarding the Soviet Union and handed information over to Reinhard Gehlen’s espionage system.
According to Alexander Frick, Prime Minister of Liechtenstein, the Russians were at no point in danger of being extradited, and the local population fully supported the government in providing asylum to the Russians. The small population of the country (12,141 in 1945) supported the émigrés (4% of the population) at a rate of CHF 30,000 per month for 2 years and paid their costs to move to Argentina; they did not know that these costs were later to be reimbursed by Germany. While the Western Allies and other countries in Europe complied with Soviet requests to repatriate Soviet citizens regardless of their individual wishes, Liechtenstein was the only country that stood up to these demands and informed the Soviet government that only those Russians who wanted to go home would be permitted to go. Those soldiers of the 1st Russian National Army who chose to return to the USSR were summarily executed by the Soviet military authorities on the way to the Soviet Union.
Smyslovsky died in Vaduz on 5 September 1988.
⇒ An interesting discussion about him at the Axis History Forum.
⇒ The 1993 French movie Vent d’est (East Wind), directed by Robert Enrico, is based on the perambulation of Smyslovsky and his army. The General is played by Malcolm McDowell.